First Division round-up: Finn Harps close gap on leaders Cork City as Athlone Town return to winning ways

Finn Harps maintained their strong start to the season with a 2-0 victory over Bray Wanderers at Finn Park on Easter Monday. 

Darren Murphy’s men have caught the eye this term and are now just a point behind league leaders Cork City in the race for automatic promotion. 

They took the lead against Ian Ryan’s Seagulls through David Cawley just before the half-time break with David Cawley on hand to pounce. 

The former Sligo Rovers midfielder was played in by an excellent probing ball by Tony McNamee to score. 

And despite Bray creating chances of their own, McNamee sealed it for the Co Donegal with just minutes left to play as he finished coolly after being played in by Sean O’Donnell. 

That result, coupled with Cork City’s draw against Wexford - saw them close the gap to just one point on the Leesiders. 

City took the lead against the Slaneysiders in the first half through teenager Jaden Umeh. 

But Mikie Rowe ensured James Keddy’s men would not leave without a point. 

Elsewhere, Athlone Town returned to winning ways after enduring a wretched six-game winless league run. 

Dario Castelo’s men won on the opening day against Wexford but struggled since - losing three and drawing three of their next six. 

But a win over high-flying Treaty United will serve as a nice confidence boost ahead of a vital month of fixtures. 

Aaron Connolly netted the only goal of the game for Athlone. 

Meanwhile, Longford Town’s wait for a first win since September dragged on as they coughed up another lead on the road away to Cobh Ramblers. 

Town have now led in four games this season but have given up the lead in every outing. 

An own-goal from Charlie O’Brien gave them the lead at St Colman’s Park before half-time. 

But David Bosnjak came off the bench to level for the Rams and ensure they avoided defeat. 

Longford’s last win in the First Division came on September 2nd 2023 against Galway United, meaning they have now picked up just five points on offer from a possible 42 since then.

Elsewhere, UCD were held 1-1 at home by Kerry. 

Ciaran Behan gave the Students a first-half lead but the Kingdom hit back through Daniel Okwute to salvage a point. 

Conor McCarthy’s side are now unbeaten in their last five league games.